North Simpson Desert

Submitted: Friday, Jan 26, 2018 at 23:24
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AN Unsuccessful E/W Simpson crossing via Geocentre and Geosurveys Hill.
Les PK Ranger his mate Dennis and i left Birdsville the first week in May 2015, a 105 series cruiser a BT50 and a new HiLux to tackle a trackless East West crossing of the Simpson via Geocentre ,Geosurveys Hill,then to take a straight westly line to the Colson Track, Maccs reserve, on to Mt Dare. I had 270 litres of diesel in my 1hdft 105 and the other 4 cylinders had 220liters. We left the French Line about 30 kms west of Poeppels and headed north up via Mirranponda lakes with the intention of following the old shot lines marked on the Hema and government Maps. This track, Mirranponda to Mt Dare is actually marked on the Eotopo and OSM Maps it's the Tracklog image of Exploroz member Steve Langman from 2006. This track is non existent and as the shot lines were graded in the 1960s were only noticeable is some sections which were overgrown and washed out. It was quiet hard going mainly in 2nd low making our way over what you would call virgin ground, very hard on the suspension and crossing the soft dunes.We struggled on some dunes and one had to be snatched over many times.
We camped just north of Thomas well on the second night then passed the open cut pit,the grove of Gidgee then we cut across to the main N/S Shotline that runs up from Erabana well on the French line and made it to the Geocentre for the 3rd nights camp that afternoon. The run up this line was quiet easy as it's a recognised route except for the last half a dozen dunes where you exit to head west to the Geocentre. The next day we continued north up a dune corridor and came across a plaque planted there by Willem Kempen, his mate and wife Jude in the late 1980s .After travelling aprox 70km north from the Geocentre we turned west on a direct bearing to Geosurveys Hill.The dunes were now a lot higher and each vehicle had to make there own route across the dunes as once the ground was broken it was to hard for the following vehicles to cross on the same path.We made it aprox 6km east of Geosurveys Hill. We camp on top of a dune due to the nature of the terrain.
After filling the long range tanks in the 4 cylinders that night and saw the needle positions on the gauges we realised that we used a lot more fuel than we expected. That was twice the amount you would use on a French Line crossing, so to play it save as we knew that the dunes would be harder and higher the further west we travelled. We come to a decision to play it save to return to the French line directLy down the dune corridors. We arrived at the French line on the 6th day not far from Erabena Junction after camping the 5th night aprox 30km north of it.
No Mechanical problems to any vehicles. I was the only one lucky not to get any stakes. The other 2 had 2 stakes each. From memory the 2 X 4 cylinders arrived at Mt Dare with there fuel lights on. I still had under half of my 180liter rear tank about 60L. As none of us filled our tanks completely at Mt Dare i am unable to give accurate fuel consumptions but the 6 and 4 cylinders weren't to much in difference. We did estimate that we could have used over 30L/100ks in sections .
Navigation. Les and i both used Nuvi Garmin with Topo v4 in 4x4 mode and a custom map from OSM overlay that had Steve L track. I used Ozi, Les, MapOut and Hema 4wd on ipad.
Communication. I had a HF radio with phone connection via the HFradio Club and an Isatphone ,Les had a Iridium phone.
WATER We had 60 to 80 in each vehicle. Fuel. 4 cy had 220l / 6cy 270l
TEMP. As it was early in the season, the lowest overnight temp was about 3 to 4 deg however reached 30 deg during the day,quiet hot having lunch with no shade.
In June 2017 Les, Bob Y ,Trev and myself completed the western section from Mt Dare to the French Line via Geosurveys Base A ,Geosurveys Hill, Northern Fuel dump and the Geocentre to Birdsville.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 07:50

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 07:50
Hi Maurice

It sounds like you had fun out there as well and the pictures show a very different view of the Northern Simpson compared to lots of sections that were burnt out when we did it in May 2006.

Temperature wise, it must gave been a cooler year when you did it, as when were out there, we had a couple of days at 40 and then the rest of the it was between 34 to 38

I was using the only map available at the time, which was the Natmap 1/250k and found it fantastice. Because of the hot weather, combined with the very soft dunes, we would tackle the dunes in second low, then when it started to get hard, and before going back to first low, off with the a/c and just crawl your way up as best you could.

There were also a few times that the dunes were just too high to get over and the only way to keep going east was to follow a Swale and use the gaps in the dunes to keep going that way.

As you will have read, the hardest section was when we headed northeast from Geosurveys Hill up to that Degree Confluence....it was just hell and it was one time that we had regrets and wished we had gone down to a more direst route to the Geo Centre.

In 2010 and 2011 when Fiona and I did 2 solo trips across the Simpson when it was wet, we then completed everything that can be done in the Simpson...and in 2011 took the kayak out there and spent time on Eyre creek.....and I think I can say as far as we know that we are the only people to have actually paddled out in the Simpson.

Welcome to the Double Geo Club, as if there was every one, I know the membership would be limited, and if there was one for kayaking in the Simpson, I think Fiona and I would be the only members.




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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 08:51

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 08:51
Hi Maurice

Here is another view of the Simpson, and one that very few, if not maybe only Fiona and I have been able to witness.

With every track driven, been to the Geo Centre and the Geo Hill, this was the very last thing that we had to do to complete our list of Simpson things to do.



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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 14:19

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 14:19
I've got some pics of us sailing with Wolfie (RIP) on Muncoonie Lake in 2002 near Annandale, and some pics with the rolling red dunes coming down to Eyre Creek crossing. Just magic. But who has a pic of their toodler on a rocking horse found out there at the old Annandale Ruins but me? Wolfie has sadly just passed away (he was suffering with parkinsons in recent years and was no longer painting). Some of you may have visited his gallery in Birdsville - the Blue Poles Gallery. Wolfie was known for dashing out into the desert after the rains for painting wildflowers and sailing. Such a character.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 14:58

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 14:58
Hi Michelle

It looks like it will be just a membership of 4 then for the Simpson Desert water club....lol

Being on the water out in the Simpson is such a very special occasion and would have to rate as No 1.

The last time we were out at Muncoonie, it was bone dry, with the lake surface covered in a great number of dead cattle. Did you have a dig in the sand at the top of dunes? It was one of the easiest places to find mega Aboriginal stone Chipping and just north of Annandale there was a grinding stone right on the edge of the track, and I wondered how many people have driven past it, not knowing what it was.

We alway used to drop into the Blue Poles Gallery when it was running when in Birdsville and one time for a coffee and desert and at late by his little camp fire in the back yard and chatted for hours. There are so many great people that we had contact in Birdsville and one great lady that I hope is still in good health is Ruth from the Caravan Park.

I know she was having trouble with Breast Cancer when we last caught up with Ian at the Birdsville VIC

Hope you are keeping cool in the West Michelle.


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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 17:11

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 17:11
Hi Stephen,
I have told you before, when I first joined E.O. that my Grandparents lived atAnnandale whilst working for Kidman. They too paddled on the Eyre Creek but not in a Kyak. Is it hard slog paddling back against the current when the Eyre Creek is full?
A rather less dignified method was used! & not as relaxing.
A boat was used at times but some times the old vehicle was paddled across on a floating pontoon after the supplies had been taken across in the boat.
Then the vehicle was repacked & off they'd go . Early 1940s.
My Grandmother was a Morton before marriage.
I'm so sorry to hear about Ruth & sincerely hope she has won her health battle.
Great photos all who contributed to this post. Thankyou.

Take care, Safe travels Ma.
Pa,Ma&Gus
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 18:02

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 18:02
Hi Ma

Yes I remember about your family history and relatives that lived out there

My second images is when we were camped out there, and it is always a great place to visit

Last August a friend of mine from Clare was out that way, and Eyre Creek at Annandale still had a couple of puddles in it.

They went for a walk over the other side an gues what they found....most likely the old boat that grandparents most likely used. It was old metal and was riveted together with copper rivets.

I will go back through my photos and try to post it for you.


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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 18:31

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 18:31
That would be great Stephen.
I wish I'd taken the time to ask them more about those times before they died.
Ididn't know then, that I was going to become so interested in out back life.

I have a several photos but only some have descriptions.
Nanna didn't like Annandale, she spent most of her time sweeping the sand dunes out of her house!

Very good of you to take the time to look for it for me.
It was a shocking day when we visited, extremely hot & trillions of flies in Late September.
Bye for now, hope 2018 is good to you & family.
Take care, safe travels. Ma.
Pa,Ma&Gus
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 18:55

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 18:55
Hi Ma

I found the images for your collection.

Did you find the grave for the two young children that died out at Annandale?

I was not related to them, but still brought tears to my eyes thinking of those poor young children and no real grave, just a small wooden cross and wire mesh. We placed some wildflowers on the grave, said a few prayer and then went back to our camp.


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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 19:14

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 19:14
Michelle, Thankyou for the photos that included Wolfie from Blue Poles. We enjoyed some time chatting with his son at Blue Poles many years ago, but Wolfgand John's painting of the French Line sits in our Lounge room.
And Stephen, great photos as always!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 19:23

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 19:23
Hi Phil

Thanks for that and anywhere out in the Simpson is always special.

That painting would be so special and you would never get sick of looking at it.



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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 20:12

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 20:12
So quick, well done Steven thanks.
I'll have a look through my old photos soon. They're packed away.

The children weren't my Grandparents children and the grave could barely be seen when we were there.
I'd only heard Rumours in Birdsville about the children, there were conflicting stories. We went to Blue Poles Cafe but many people were there and I didn't hear Wolfgangs' version of what happened.
I cried too, at the grave.
I set to work to find out what happened & in my research I learnt from one of my Aunty's books (very small books) that things at the time were in a very bad drought & the men were away shifting cattle to better pastures The family were out of food..

There was an Aboriginal camp nearby and they kindly told the mother to cook what they were eating but the method to remove the poison got lost in the mothers' understanding. That is how the children died, by accidental poisoning. This is accounted to be the true story. I don't know for sure?

Those photo's are much appreciated, I'll keep them.
Take care, safe travels. Ma.
Pa,Ma&Gus
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 21:11

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 21:11
Phil...photos of my loungeroom... the top is same as yours and bottom ine is the actual dune I visited with Wolfie near Eyre Creek. i have others too including an abstract original of Annandale windmill ruins and cattle skull. I will post later...currently renovating so packed away.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 23:37

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 23:37
That's nice Michelle - those paintings are extra special since Wolfgang passed.
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Reply By: gbc - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 09:12

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 09:12
In ‘09 when my father came with us, his petrol manual 80 series cruiser used the same amount as my auto crd Colorado for a French line run. When it gets a bit tough the naturally aspirated 6’s come into their own. I drove in low range a fair bit more to prevent the auto box temps from rising, but in higher gears.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 09:16

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 09:16
Nice report Maurice.

Yes, glad we turned back in 2015, as much as we could almost see Geo Hill.
Amazing we retracked our route to below the centre, all the way down to French Lin e, out the usual route to Mt Dare for fuel, and to think we likely all would have run dangerously low if we'd tried to make the hill and beyond to Colson.
Knowing the dunes we found between last year indicated we made the right choice.

Stephen, yes Geo Hill more direct to the centre is much easier, either way I would imagine.

I can see another SA / NT desert trips sometime in the future, but now a lot has been done it will be good to get onto other areas not yet visited, give it 4 or 5 years, will maybe do Madigan east to west for a bit of a run.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 10:10

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 10:10
Has the Ranger gone Les?
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Follow Up By: maurice b - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 11:03

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 11:03
Some drone Images from Les's Video clips between Geosurvyers Base A
and Geosurveys Hill.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 12:15

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 12:15
Les/Joe,

We need to discuss the Beachcomber thingy, during our trip. Need to do it!

Good photos too, Joe & Stephen.

Bob

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 16:44

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 16:44
Michael, no mate, still got it . . . Joe calls it a BT50, I don't mind :)
Now have had it for 6-1/2 years from new, clocked a bit over 150k.
I'm giving it a huge overhaul in the next few months, it deserves some TLC and improvements . . . plus getting ready for 12,500km, 5 states drive in June / July.

Bob, would love to do that mate !
In a few years, let's say 2020 ??
Up Colson (haven't done that), turnoff to the Hill, geo centre, then bearing and as best manageable to Beachcomber.
From memory it was around 75km centre to Beachcomber, so even if really slow 3 days would be ok, I think we'd make it is 2 days, maybe 2-1/2 tops.
We'll firm up plan during next drive :)
And think about Cape next year, you in ?
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Reply By: Nacho - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2018 at 17:06

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2018 at 17:06
Excellent photo's and report and very adventurous.
No doubt I reckon you guys are getting out there more than anyone else on this forum.
The shots you've added Les PK Ranger with your drone are excellent.
I'm not quite sure why that other bloke had to hijack your post.
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Follow Up By: maurice b - Wednesday, Feb 07, 2018 at 17:55

Wednesday, Feb 07, 2018 at 17:55
Yes @Nacho, I agree the original post was trackless in the North Simpson. Then way offtrack post's .
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